6 Factors First Time Dog Owners Should Anticipate
Wed, April 21, 2021

6 Factors First Time Dog Owners Should Anticipate


Congratulations on deciding to own a dog! Dogs can be your (or your family’s) furry best friend as they have the potential to be a loyal companion with the right introductions, explained Blue Cross, an animal charity in the UK. 

It can get costly if you want your dog to live a premium lifestyle but it is not mandatory for your canine to live that way, said Jennifer Calonia of business news Forbes. Depending on your dog’s breed, current age and health, and your location, you can provide your dog with a high quality of life for less.  

Survey On Dog Ownership: Key Findings

Highland Canine, a professional dog training solutions, surveyed dog owners between October 2019 and January 2020 finding most respondents (31.64%) owned one dog. 30% owned two dogs while 17.09% owned three dogs. 9.64% and 5.27% of owners owned four or five dogs, respectively. Only 6.36% of respondents more than five dogs.

When asked to rate the behavior of their dog on a scale of 1 (completely uncontrollable) to 10 (perfect angel), most owners answered 8 (27.22%) and 7 (24.13%). Only 8.69% of owners said their dog was a perfect angel. Overall, the average behavior score was 7.24. 48.84% said their dog has undergone formal obedience training (versus 51.16% of those who answered no). When asked if the respondents purchased their dog from a breeder or adopted it from a shelter, 42% said shelter and 58% answered breeder.

Regarding the owners’ monthly expenditure on their dog, 26.25% said between $76-$100 and 20.42% answered $26-$50.  Other respondents said they spent between $51-$75 (13.75%), $101-$150 (13.75%), $151-$200 (11.04%), $201-$300 (8.75%), and $0-$25 (2.71%). Only 4.17% of respondents spend over $300 every month for their dog. When asked if their recent dog was purebred or crossbred, 51.61% answered purebred while 41.07% said crossbred. 7.32% said they don’t know if their dog is purebred or crossbred.   



What to Expect When You Are A First-Time Dog Owner

1.     Starter Equipment

For new dog owners, they might only see the surface of pet expenses such as food, food bowl, leash, and collar. If you own a puppy or adopted an untrained dog, house training and pet management can take up a bit of your starter equipment costs. Hence, it is recommended to contact your family and friends for second-hand supplies for free or a discount price. You can also browse yard sales or online marketplaces for used equipment. Don’t forget to disinfect the items with pet-friendly cleaners before giving them to your dog.

2.     Healthcare

Initial office visits, vaccines, and starting care are inevitable health expenses for new owners. In the first year, healthcare costs, vaccinations, office visits, sterilization, and prescriptions can set you back as much as $1,195. You might be prepared to cover these expenses, but not all veterinary costs come as expected. Dr. Christie Long, Chief Veterinarian of PetCoach.co, mentioned emergency illnesses as the cause of unexpected medical expenditures for dog owners. Dr. Long commented, “When something unexpected happens, it's always more concerning than if we've seen a symptom come on over time.” 

When finding a reputable veterinarian for your pooch, owner of Pet Checkers Ben Doyle advised not to just register at the closest veterinary clinics. Veterinary costs vary so traveling farther than your local area could save you hundreds of dollars during your pet’s first year and even their whole lifetime. In case of emergencies, considering securing pet insurance for your dog. Many pet insurance firms cover genetic issues and pre-existing conditions and offer a waiting period. Insurance relieves owners of the financial anxiety of having their dog taken to the vet if it unexpectedly gets sick.

As for dental issues, they can also cost you a few hundred dollars, particularly when you have your dog undergo a routine dental cleaning, which includes general anesthesia, stated Dr. Long. The bill can reach the two-thousand dollar mark if your dog needs to have its teeth extracted. Brushing your dog’s teeth every day and having a routine dental cleaning prevents your pet from undergoing costly dental procedures.

3.     Behavior Problems

Reality check: No dog is perfect, reminded Jenna Stregowski, RVT of The Spruce Pets, a pet website. Most owners will have to deal with certain behavioral issues at some point in their dog’s lifetime, ranging from excessive barking to separation anxiety.

You might even witness your urinating inappropriately, which can be a sign of a health issue and not necessarily a behavioral one. Still, it is recommended to research about canine behavior problems before they become huge issues for you and your pet.



4.     Diet

It’s okay to be overwhelmed with the number of dog foods available in the supermarket or pet store. It is advisable to read about canine nutrition and consult a veterinarian for your dog’s dietary needs. If your dog is doing well on consuming a certain product, it’s probably fine so long as its diet is complete and balanced.

5.     Dog Training

Letting your dog participate in a professional training class enables you to forge a stronger owner-dog relationship in a safe and structured environment. An expert will guide the both of you, so it is recommended to attend a class rather than training your dog at home. That way, the trainer can offer you tips and suggestions you may not have thought of.

Good dog training classes will have a friendly trainer who is helping dogs and their owners in a beneficial way. Both dogs and owners should be relaxed. If you see over-excited dogs or hear excessive barking, these can be a sign of stress. Avoid classes where dogs are punished or are made to wear certain equipment like choke or electric collars. Methods of dog training should be positive and reward-based.

6.     Travel

Traveling can be stressful for you and your pet, said Kathryn Lisko, education specialist at Rover.com. It’s also something you have to pay when you are unprepared. Lisko suggested, “A puppy needs scheduled potty breaks throughout the day, and an overnight sitter will need to be arranged for when you’re out of town." You may avail the services of a dog walker, an in-home pet sitter or dog boarding service can make your pet happy if work or other commitments hinder you from taking care of your pet.



Dogs are more than holiday or birthday gifts. Dogs are an investment and require long-term commitment to make them happy. Owners should be prepared to shoulder their dog’s health expenses for emergencies or routine checkups. Research about dog care will help owners know what they will anticipate.